God’s Prescription (2):Return and rest
Yesterday,I took us through the background stories behind Isaiah Chapter 30.You can read the post here.
Today,I want us to concentrate on two of God’s prescriptions for the troubled Judah:Return and Rest
“For thus said the Lord God,the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling”-Isa 30:15
‘Returning‘(Hebrew /shûbâh/ comes from the word ‘return‘(Hebrew/shûb/) which means:”to turn back”, “to retreat”.
Let’s see three other instances where ‘return’/shub/ was used in the Scriptures for us to understand the meaning better:
“The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return/shub/ to your mistress, and submit to her authority”-Gen 16:9
Hagar had run away from Sarah and God instructed her to turn back to submit to Sarah.
“Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return/shub/ to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you”-Gen 31:3
Jacob was getting negative attitude from Laban and God told him to go back to where he came from!
From these two verses,it can be seen that both Hagar and Jacob were in distress.They were in difficult situations where their souls thirsted for solutions. Let’s see the third instance:
“Return/shub/to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you”-Psalm 116:7
In relation to Part 1 of the series discussed on Saturday,God wanted Judah to return from seeking help from Syria,Assyria and Egypt.He wanted them to come home.These countries wouldn’t help them! So,God cried out:Sons and Daughters of Zion,come back to the starting point!
You have been running helter skelter looking for solutions in wrong places…Return home!
You are a ‘Christian’ yet you still visit the herbalists, ritualists and belong to secret cults…Return home
You can’t get any tangible help from them.Whatever good they do for you will only be like the ways Syrians and Assyrians helped Judah and not long after became their worst enemies!
Let’s look at the Hebrew meaning of the second ‘drug’ that God prescribed for Judah:
Rest/Hebrew:nachath/: Until I went to check the meaning of /nachath/,I used to think ‘rest’ only means inactivity or a state where a person does nothing! I was partially wrong!
Rest(Nachath) means a ‘descent’ or ‘lighting down’.I want you to have a picture of an eagle that has been in the air for a while but now descending to rest.
Rest= Descent+A state of quietness
Descent from where? As for Judah,they fell into the sin of pride by thinking they could do things without consulting God.God then wanted them to first descend from their heights of pride and humble themselves before Him.You see,this prescription was good for them because God gave them the opportunity to ‘descend’ and humble themselves under Him unlike Nebuchadnezzar:He was brought down by God!
“But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed(nechath) from his royal throne and stripped of his glory”-Dan 5:20
It is better for the proud to humble himself than for God to humble him!
So,God wanted Judah to return(shub) home like the prodigal son but they could only achieve that by rest (nachath)-descending from their position of pride in quiteness.
These two ‘medications’ are still very much relevant today for every sick and troubled soul.Christ is calling out to such soul:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest“-Matt 11:28
We shall examine the other two prescriptions ‘medications’ on Wednesday.